Mel Rea’s art education and career started as a clay sculptor. Early on she focused on large-scale, highly detailed figurative work but after many years, she felt her artistic aesthetic shifting towards a more minimalistic philosophy. It was during this period that she discovered a small batch of beeswax left behind from the last of her grandfather’s beehives. Mel’s grandfather built and farmed his own set of beehives and Mel’s name is actually a translation of the Greek word for “honeybee.” That discovery of her grandfather’s old batch of beeswax led to Mel’s transition into encaustic painting (painting with molten beeswax).
In addition to her work with encaustics, Mel has recently expanded into mixed media on canvas. She works primarily with alkyd oils which dry slower than acrylic paint but more quickly than traditional oils. Mel also enjoys working on paper which she says is the softest and most vulnerable medium to work with. When creating works on paper, Mel most frequently utilizes ink, acrylic, and powdered graphite. Mel lives and works in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.